|Faction||Earth Defense Force|
|Family||Great Harlock (Father)|
Wataru Yuki/Susumu Kodai (Brother)
Kei Yuki (Niece)
Mamoru Yuki/Manabu Yuki (Nephew)
Captain Harlock (キャプテン・ハーロック Kyaputen Hārokku) (also known as Captain Herlock for the English release of Endless Odyssey) (Or even ''Capitaine Albator'' for the french versions) is a fictional character created by manga artist Leiji Matsumoto.
Harlock is the archetypical romantic hero, a space pirate with an individualist philosophy of life. He is as noble as he is taciturn, rebellious, stoically fighting against totalitarian regimes, whether they be earth-born or alien.
The character and title of Harlock is shared by many characters with Captain Harlock being the most famous. Other characters include Franklin Harlock, Jr. from Gun Frontier as well as several other characters that tend to have small roles.
Production[edit | edit source]
Harlock was created in response to one of Matsumoto's other characters Maetel, a central character from Galaxy Express 999. Whereas Maetel was meant to evoke the image of an ideal woman, Harlock was created to show a self-made man.
Full Name[edit | edit source]
While he was always referred to as Harlock or Captain, his full name has always been debatable. A commonly seen name was Phantom F. Harlock and Phantom F. Harlock II. Both names indicate that the name Harlock is a title passed down from individuals to successors whether from family or by passing the mantle onto others. As appearances in series vary, the identity of Harlock is left to interpretation.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Harlock is a handsome and lean young man with messy long brown hair, expressionless brown eyes and usually thin eyebrows. Unique to Harlock is his cross-shaped facial scar and an eye patch covering his right eye. He is famously dressed in his black attire including his suit that features red and white linings, brown gloves and boots, as well as a cape with a red interior and a jolly roger near the neck area. The same skull and crossbones symbol is on other items including his belt buckle, on the same belt is a gun holster where Harlock keeps his Gravity Saber while keeping a handmade gun made by Tochiro near his left foot called the Cosmo Dragoon. Occasionally, his Bird is seen perched on his shoulder. This image was to show Harlock's status as a space pirate using some archetypal features associated with pirates in order to differentiate himself with other characters that have either become institutionalized or have joined militaries.
When Harlock was younger he lacked the same scars and featured both eyes while wearing some blue clothes along with his black outfit.
Harlock's features the standard appearance of many male characters created by Matsumoto.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Harlock is a very self-made man, having seen the corruption of Earth's government politicians and their self-indulgence as well as the growing threats that many people refuse to acknowledge or take action against including the Mazon. In his own words, he "fight[s] for no one's sake... only for something deep in [his] heart". As such, Harlock discarded any kind of established morals and chose to follow his own experiences and ethics as well as the people close to him, especially those that possess the same beliefs as him. One of the biggest factors to Harlock's character was his closest friend Tochiro Oyama, who in spite of all the hate and grueling treatment they received from Earth, Tochiro still loved Earth and wanted it to press onward. Harlock, acknowledging his friend's passion, ultimately does not engage in direct conflict with Earth's government unless absolutely necessary.
That is not to say that he is openly hostile towards anyone from Earth's government, in fact when confronted by anyone out to capture or kill him on orders, Harlock shows no hate and does not try to fight back on first sight. Instead he calmly offers insight to the decisions they make as well as why they took certain actions. Because of this, Harlock establishes a bond with these people who gain a greater understanding of what really happens. This is primarily because Harlock still cares about Earth and wants to protect it from the threats that many will not acknowledge.
Harlock is a man of honor, having great pride in the relationships he has with others as well as his ethic code. As such, he has great faith in his crew in spite of their motley personalities. This goes to the lengths of his other friends ruthlessly killing a Mazon that impersonated Emeraldas in an attempt to kill Harlock, as well as shoot someone dead for insulting Tochiro.
Harlock is an individualist, seeing that one person can make a difference in life, particularly by his young wards that he often includes in his crew such as Tadashi Daiba. He is more than willing to keep even the smallest of promises, always visiting Mayu because of a promise with Tochiro. Whenever someone of his crew is captured or in danger, Harlock never hesitates to rescue them. Harlock never goes back on his beliefs but is willing to question them when something seems wrong or contradicts them, even then he chooses to keep going forward with little worry.
Harlock's courage is shown through the many enemies he faces including Earth's government, the Mazon, and many more. In fact he is more than willing to talk them down even when facing major odds against him. Harlock does not fear death, all the while deciding for himself how he wishes to die. As often shown by many romanticized ship captains, Harlock considers the Arcadia his home and would protect it at all costs or die trying.
Harlock hardly ever smiles or even laughs but some people close to him state that Harlock was once more cheerful, but after Tochiro died he became much more stoic. Emeraldas even stated that the only thing that could ever get through Harlock's calm demeanor would be anything related to Tochiro whether good or bad.
History[edit | edit source]
Harlock's backstory is best described as complicated as there is loose continuity in the works of Leiji Matsumoto. In all stories, Harlock originally came from Earth and befriended Tochiro. Both of them expressed their passion for going out into the stars. Harlock had even joined an imperial navy for a while, gaining a high position and commanding a ship. Harlock however saw the degrading side of Earth's politics and government figures as they grew ever lazy and at worst corrupt. Soon the pair stole the ship the Death Shadow, setting out for the cosmos. On their journey, they encountered the war with the Machine Empire as well as the sisters fighting against them Emeraldas and Maetel, themselves former supporters until leaving their homeworld behind. Harlock and Tochiro did their parts in ending the Machine Empire's quest for conquest. Some series portray Harlock as having come from a long time lineage in the Harlock Family with his title inherited from his father, Great Harlock and being married to his childhood sweetheart Maya who died in an intergalactic war against the Illumidas.
Several years later, Harlock would captain a new vessel, the Arcadia, a ship engineered by Tochiro sometime before Tochiro's death. At one point, he also lost his right eye. Deciding to continue his travels in memory of Tochiro, Harlock gathers a motley crew of 40 including his first mate Yattaran, a psychic alien woman he encountered on Jura named Miime, as well as Kei Yuki. By the time an enemy began to make their move, Harlock recruits Tadashi Daiba after his father is killed.
Abilities and Equipment[edit | edit source]
Harlock is best known for his charm that allows him to win the hearts of many. But even without that, Harlock is still shown to be competent in many fields, not the least of which including combat and using guns. His preferred weapon is a Gravity Saber, often using the weapon in combat in both close quarters as well as its ranged capabilities. At times he uses it in tandem with the Cosmo Dragoon he carries, showing a full mastering of the weapon that exemplifies him as a Space Warrior. He is highly athletic, able to pull off some dangerous maneuvers. His abilities as a captain are also relevant, commanding his crew and ship with minimal instruction on a system based on necessity and trust.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Harlock is sometimes seen wearing clothing with the number 42 on it. In Japanese culture, the number 42 is associated with death (the numbers, pronounced separately as "four two", sound like the words "shi ni" -- meaning "to death"), showing Harlock's fearless character.
- Many people say that Captain Harlock resembles Black Jack due to the scars across the side of their faces.